Ukraine Day 903: LIVE UPDATES BELOW.
Yesterday’s live coverage of the Ukraine conflict can be found here.
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11 Ukrainian soldiers were wounded yesterday, as Kiev reports increasing attacks on residential areas and use of Grad rockets by Russian-backed forces.
Colonel Oleksandr Motuzyanyk, military spokesman for the Presidential Administration, told reporters today that the Ukrainian soldiers had been wounded near Troitskoye, Zaytsevo, Avdeyevka, Maryinka and Pavlopol.
According to this morning’s ATO Press Center report, Russian-backed forces conducted 61 attacks yesterday.
The Ukrainian military claims that Russian-backed forces used 122 mm self-propelled howitzers to shell positions in Pavlopol, northeast of Mariupol, which was one of the areas in which Ukrainian troops were wounded. According to the report, 45 122 mm shells were fired here.
The head of the village, Sergei Shapkin, told Mariupol news site 0629.com.ua this morning that part of Pavlopol had been left without electricity after lines were damaged by the shelling and that mobile communications were down.
To the north, a group of around five Russian-backed fighters attempted an assault on Ukrainian firing positions near Starognatovka, one of the key flash points last summer. Ukrainian forces reportedly repelled the assault.
According to military press officer Ivan Chmil, BMP infantry fighting vehicles were also recorded firing on Ukrainian positions in this area.
Chmil reported that later in the night, Ukrainian marines’ positions in Shirokino, on the Azov coast, were shelled 52 times with 120 mm mortars, with howitzers used at 5:30 this morning.
In the Donetsk area, Chmil reported that Russian-backed forces used mortars to shell Maryinka and Krasnogorovka, to the west of the separatist-held city.
According to the ATO Press Center, around fifty mortar shells were fired on Ukrainian positions along the front line between Krasnogorovka and Avdeyevka, to the northeast of Donetsk.
In the Gorlovka area, the military reports that two dozen 122 mm artillery shells were fired at positions near Luganskoye and Mayorsk.
In the Lugansk region, Ukrainian troops in Lopaskino were attacked with grenade launchers, while other attacks were reported near Popasnaya and Zhyoltoye.
Vadim Bakay, another Ukrainian military spokesman, said that a civilian woman, born in 1940, suffered shrapnel wounds on Saturday when a Grad rocket struck Maryinka. Bakay claimed that several rockets were fired on the suburb, all from 9P132 Grad-P single-shot launchers.
These same weapons were fired near the village of Zheleznoye (formerly Artyomovo), outside Gorlovka.
According to Bakay, there is a developing pattern of attacks on residential areas. He claimed that nine buildings were damaged, with one house almost completely destroyed, in the village of Zhovanka, after Russian-backed forces shelled the area with 120 mm mortars. In neighboring Toretsk, residential areas were damaged by both 82 and 120 mm shells.
It was here that the Donetsk police reported yesterday that a girl, born in 2009, had been wounded by shelling in the early hours of the morning. According to the report, four houses suffered significant damage, with one completely gutted by fire.
To the north of Donetsk, a 120 mm shell damaged a house in the village of Severny.
It should be noted that while this is the first use of Grad rockets claimed by the Ukrainian military for over a month, the OSCE has observed the use of full-salvo Grad multiple-launch systems as recently as July 30.
Meanwhile the self-declared Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) announced that one of their fighters was killed and two wounded by Ukrainian fire.
According to the DNR, Ukrainian forces fired on separatist-held territory 320 times over 24 hours, using tanks, mortars, and both 122 and 152 mm artillery to shell the outskirts of Donetsk and Gorlovka, as well as the southern villages of Kominternovo and Sakhanka, east of Mariupol.
— Pierre Vaux